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Friday, August 15, 2008
Catching up with the AFC West's rookies

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson

As the second preseason week begins, here is a quick check up on some of the top draft picks in the AFC West:

Denver

No. 1 pick Ryan Clady: The left tackle has had a tough job the past several days. He had to face Houston's Mario Williams in his first NFL game action on Saturday. This week, he's had to go against Dallas' DeMarcus Ware in a joint practice. Clady had his share of rough times against these two established rush ends. But overall, Denver has been happy with his progress in training camp and believes he'll be ready to be the starter once the regular season begins.

No. 2 pick Eddie Royal: The receiver/returner from Virginia Tech has been the talk of the Broncos camp. While Clady has had his tough moments against Dallas, Royal has been a star this week. He is starting alongside Brandon Marshall, and it looks like that will be the case once the regular season starts.

Kansas City

No. 1 pick Glenn Dorsey: Dorsey hurt his knee Aug. 2 and is just getting back in the swing of things. He probably won't play Saturday night against Arizona. That would mean his first preseason action would come next week at Miami. Dorsey had been doing very well in practice and the Chiefs expect him to make an immediate impact. But he needs to get some game action in the preseason before he meets New England in the season opener.

No. 1 pick Branden Albert: Albert, who was taken 15th overall, 10 spots after Dorsey, looks like he's going to miss the entire preseason with a foot injury. The Chiefs have high hopes for him and expect him to play early in the regular season. Before his injury, he was doing an outstanding job.

Oakland

No. 1 pick Darren McFadden: McFadden will face Tennessee tonight -- look for him to get several carries. McFadden had 12 carries for 48 yards last week against the 49ers. The Raiders know what they got in McFadden and they are jumping up and down about it. They can't wait to get the regular season started and to unleash this multi-talented back on the NFL.

San Diego

No. 1 pick Antoine Cason: Cason will likely start Saturday night at St. Louis in front of banged up star Antonio Cromartie. Cason was excellent against Dallas last week and has had a very good training camp. The Arizona product will be the Chargers' nickel cornerback. He has continued his college habit of being a ball hawk in camp and the Chargers think that he completes, with Quentin Jammer, a dynamic cornerback trio.

No. 3 pick Jacob Hester: Hester opened eyes last week against Dallas as he scored two touchdowns and rushed for 49 yards. He is a tough, rugged player who showed he is effective at the goal line. Hester, from LSU, took the lead over Darren Sproles in the contest to be the Chargers' No. 2 running back. A strong performance against the Rams could bolster Hester's chances of being LaDainian Tomlinson's top caddy.